Let’s look at five ways to avoid burning money on AdWords, so you can prosper from the world’s most used ad network.
1. Squash click fraud
If not contained, click fraud can murder your PPC budget. Last year, CNBC reported alarming stats on the matter:
- Nearly 20 percent of total digital ad spend was wasted due to click fraud in 2016.
- Click fraud will cost brands $16.4 billion globally in 2017.
Search engines tell you they do everything in their power to combat click fraud and invalid traffic, but you’d be foolish to rely on their measures only.
The way to protect your budget is to respond proactively with a tool such as ClickCease expressly designed to enable you to combat click fraud.
Fueled by insights from activity logs, AdWords buyers can identify IP addresses, referring websites and geographic territories where fraudulent activity comes from and adjust accordingly.
You can also drastically reduce click fraud on the Display Network by using exclusions and managed placements.
2. Focus on buyer intent
All searches are not created equal. With CPCs rising every year, search marketers can no longer afford to think of all searches for specific keywords as quality buyer intent signals.
Ignoring signals can severely diminish performance. Understand the ways prospects engage with your brand at different stages of the sales funnel to align your campaign accordingly and make the most relevant offer at each level of search intent.
3. Bid on branded keywords
Is it wise to trim your budget by not bidding on searches for your brand or products? Many would say, “Yes, we’ll rank for those phrases anyway.”
But realize this: if you don’t control the ads that appear when your brand name is searched, one or more of your competitors will. That’s dangerous.
“The number one reason to bid on your own brand name is to make sure your competitors don’t have an ad that ranks higher than your organic result and steal valuable clicks in the process,” writes Joe Putname of iSpionage. (Note: their service notifies you when competitors bid on your brand terms.)
Another thing to understand is branded clicks tend to be inexpensive. You can expect super high Quality Scores for branded terms, which keeps your click costs very low.
Your average CPC is likely to be just a fraction of the price you pay for other keywords. And they convert well too.
4. Beware of broad match
Understand the difference between broad match and exact match.
With broad match—the default setting for AdWords buys—your ads will be shown for searches that are related to your keywords, not specifically the precise keywords.
Broad match is the way to go when you want to reach the widest audience possible. However, “banking” on broad match hits your bank account harder.
You get more impressions that are less targeted. Inevitably, you wind up paying for clicks from people who don’t align well with your offer.
For example, you may be tempted to use a keyword like “guitar,” but because it’s so broad, you may generate clicks (and charges for those clicks) far from searches you covet, such as “learn how to play finger style guitar.” That’s not likely to result in a sale.
It should be easy to see how buyer intent enters into the formula and how the match type you select can affect your spend.
5. Use negative keywords
Choosing what not to target is another key to curbing costs and realizing superior ROI in AdWords.
Use negative keywords for your AdWords buys to eliminate unwanted traffic and the costs it incurs. With negative keywords, you dictate to Google specific words that appear in user searches for which you do not want to serve your ad.
Look for search terms similar to your keywords, but likely to cater to customers searching for a different product, service, or content.
For example, if you sell birthday cakes, you might consider using negative keywords such as “birthday cake ideas” or “birthday cake recipes,” keywords that suggest searchers are looking to learn or DIY instead of purchase.
According to ClickCease, “free”, “cheap”, and “wholesale” are prime contenders for your negative keywords lists (unless your products are one of those things).
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